June 10, 2021

Greg VanDerwerker and Sidi Limehouse, The Post & Courier

Commentary: Public trust doctrine was crucial to protecting Captain Sam’s Spit

South Carolinians won a crucial victory with the recent state Supreme Court decision concerning Captain Sam’s Spit and the battle over the public’s right to access and use the state’s waters and land below the mean high water line, which are publicly owned resources under the public trust doctrine.

Since 2008, when Kiawah Development Partners first proposed building a revetment along the bank of the Kiawah River on the landward side of the spit, the S.C. Environmental Law Project has fought unremittingly on behalf of the Coastal Conservation League and all S.C. citizens.

For 13 years, through countless hearings, depositions and motions, as well as multiple arguments before the S.C. Administrative Law Court and the S.C. Supreme Court, the Environmental Law Project has never wavered in its assertion that the public trust doctrine was being violated by the developers’ proposals and by the Administrative Law Court’s rulings. The state Supreme Court has concurred.

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